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Best Laptops under $800 in 2020

Best Value

ASUS VivoBook S14

4/5
Runner Up

Microsoft Surface (1st Generation)

4/5
Editor's Choice

Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop

4.5/5

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As prices continue to rise for premium laptops and fall for budget options, it’s often difficult to find a solid mid-range laptop that has good performance vs price. However, looking at $800 as a budget, there are some high-quality laptops on the market that detail specs rivaling selections in the $1000 price range.

Our Recommended Best Laptops under $800 in 2020

Best Value

ASUS VivoBook S14

4/5
Runner Up

Microsoft Surface (1st Generation)

4/5
Editor's Choice

Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop

4.5/5

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

4/5

How We Picked

Choosing the right laptop for you is never straightforward, there’s a bunch of confusing terminology as well as model number variations, complex processor details, and more. We believe in simplifying that process and that’s why we’ve categorized our best laptops under $800 in an effort to provide a clear winner for your needs.

When we picked this selection of best laptops under $800, we focused on three key areas; portability, display, and performance as we believe are the biggest differentiators in separating the best from the rest.

Our Recommended

Best Laptops under $800 in 2020

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Best Value

Pros

  • Great value
  • 85% screen-to-body ratio
  • Solid ports

Cons

This VivoBook from ASUS ticks a lot of boxes when looking at the best laptops under $800. It details some brilliant overall specs, a solid display, and the portability required for the majority of users out there. Looking at those specs we can see an Intel Core i5-10210U processor coupled with 8GB DDR4 RAM which provides some impressive performance when doing intensive multitasking or doing more creative tasks on Adobe Creative Suite. The 512GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD also makes for extremely speedy boot times and enough storage space to keep you going for a while.

Moving to the display, you’ll receive a less run of the mill 14-inch screen size which is welcomed as you’ll get a little more real estate than a 13-inch variant while not compromising too much on size. ASUS also utilizes a NanoEdge bezel allowing an 85% screen-to-body ratio, further compounding the aspect that this slightly larger screen won’t affect overall portability.

Taking a look at the overall design and features it’s clear to see ASUS wanted to pack in some top features as well as making it look aesthetically pleasing. It has a metal chassis and 16mm z-height in conjunction with an ergonomic backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor-activated via Windows Hello. The ports on show are stellar also with USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0, and HDMI selections, allowing you to use a plethora of new and old devices with this laptop. 

All in all, this ASUS VivoBook is probably the most portable, high powered laptop under $800. It actually comes in way under budget by up to $100, which is unbelievable considering the specs, design, and features this laptop has. Additionally, with it being manufactured by ASUS you know you’re getting quality, and a piece of kit that will last a long time.

Runner Up

Microsoft Surface (1st Generation)

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Top tier display
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Bad port selection

While you may have heard of Microsoft’s attempt to break into the tablet PC market with their Surface Pro and Surface Go variants, their Surface laptop range is similarly stellar. This 1st gen Microsoft Surface Laptop is an excellent candidate for the best laptop under $800 as the build quality mirrors that of Apple’s Macbook Air while not completely breaking the bank. The specs and overall design are top tier too.

Looking at those specs, you’ll receive a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 256 GB of storage, 8 GB RAM all coming together to give you brilliant performance considering the price. The battery life is similarly great with Microsoft suggesting that you could receive up to 14.5 hours of video playback. This may be a slight stretch when doing more intensive tasks but still, a welcomed feature all the same.

The display is where this laptop really shines, boasting a 13.5” PixelSense Display and 2256×1504 resolution combining to make a visual experience that is similar to the pricier Macbooks. To back this up is an Intel HD Graphics 620 internal graphics card, allowing for exceptional clarity when performing creative tasks or viewing your favorite Netflix shows in stunning quality. 

The ports, on the other hand, is where the 1st gen Surface Laptop falls off. It only comes with an SD slot and one USB, which is lackluster in comparison to most competing laptops in this price range.

Overall, this is an excellent choice for those looking for a classy laptop with the specs to back it up. It has a very premium feel, similar to Apple products, as well as the resolution that blows a lot of other laptops out of the water. The amount of ports is slightly annoying but can be resolved with a dongle so it’s your call if you want another of those in your life.

Editor's Choice

Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop

Pros

  • Expandable RAM
  • High-end internal components
  • Can handle intensive tasks with ease

Cons

Dell is predominantly known for its business tech, providing the bog-standard laptops and desktops for general office use but this laptop targeted at gamers is certainly not your average machine. It has an 8th generation Intel Core i5 8300H processor that can be pushed to up to 3.9 gigahertz with Turbo Boost, allowing for not only gaming improvements but improvements to those who use intensive programs like Adobe Premiere Pro. To back that up there’s 8GB 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM packed in, which can be expanded to 32GB if you want to increase the laptop’s futureproof potential as well as an Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card for smooth frame rates. For storage, Dell has implemented a two-pronged approach with a 128 GB SSD for boot and 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD for all your other storage in which enables incredibly fast booting times while also having additional storage for housing all your games, downloads, and other documents.

The 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti Glare, LED-backlit display continues the trend of top decision making by Dell allowing for clear details and vivid colors which is advantageous for creatives and gamers alike. The fact that it is over 15 inches is also a plus, as more real estate is always nice. This does sacrifice a little portability but as Dell has managed to get this laptop so thin considering the specs, it’s not much of an issue. The amount of ports on this thing is impressive considering how thin they’ve been able to make it with 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 2.0, and an SD card reader, allowing you to leave those pesky dongles at home.

Summing this beast of a laptop under $800 up, it quite clear to see why it cements its place in our list. It has brilliant internals and a storage solution that is like no other in this price range. The fact that you can expand the RAM further down the line is also nice, creating a more futureproof product overall. The portability is also surprisingly great for a gaming laptop, being relatively thin and light compared to the more mainstream gaming laptops out there.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

Pros

  • Great for gaming
  • Impressive amount of ports
  • Expandable RAM

Cons

  • Bulky

For our best gaming pick, the Acer Nitro 5 makes the cut due to its powerful internal components, top cooling, and upgradability. Looking at those components, you’ll receive a Quad-Core 8th generation Intel Core i5-8300H 2. 3GHz processor which can be boosted up to 4.0 GHz, perfect for individuals that want to game as well as multitasking intensively. There’s also 12GB DDR4 SDRAM, surprising as this is the most amount of stock RAM we’ve seen so far but a welcomed addition, increasing its capabilities. Additionally, it can be expanded all the way up to 32GB which is perfect for the future. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4 GB GDDR5 makes light work of most games and can even provide you with relatively good frame rates in today’s AAA titles, perfect for those on long commutes and want to get some proper game time in.

The overall design is attractive but there is a caveat. It’s a little bulky, making it less portable than other gaming laptops but what is hidden in that bulky body is excellent cooling and some stellar port options. There’s a number of standard USB ports as well as the newer USB-C for those who are utilizing up to date peripherals. There’s also an SD slot, HDMI, and even an ethernet port for those looking to get the best ping possible while gaming. 

The 15.6-inch full HD IPS (1920 x 1080) ComfyView display makes any visuals pop, not just for gaming but for watching movies/TV shows too. Moreover, the stereo speakers with Acer TrueHarmony Plus technology make for great listening and immersion with strong bass, dialogue enhancement, and volume maximization.

The Acer Nitro 5 really is a portable gaming powerhouse and for a laptop under $800, it is hard to say no to. The aforementioned Dell gaming laptop does come in as an overall better choice, but for those strictly looking for a portable gaming rig, the improved RAM and cooling capabilities tip the scales in the Nitro’s favor.

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Our Verdict

ASUS VivoBook S14

4/5

ASUS VivoBook S14

4/5

ASUS VivoBook S14

4/5

Concluding this buying guide of best laptops under $800, in our eyes, there’s one clear winner; the Dell Gaming Laptop G3579-5941BLK-PUS G3 15 3579. It has some serious internal components allowing for intensive usage as well as gaming. Additionally, the surprising portability of this laptop is really nice and makes it a much more attractive choice over the Acer Nitro. However, if you are looking to spend a little less while still being provided with a quality laptop, the ASUS VivoBook is the way to go. It has insane portability and excellent value for money in comparison to other laptops of the same ilk.

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